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Republicans Try to Distract from Abramoff Pay-To-Play Schemes

US Newswire, January 31, 2006:
REP. BOB NEY (R-OH): Representative Bob Ney was a protégé of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, which moved him into Abramoff's orbit. Evenutally, former Ney chief of staff Neil Volz went to go work for Abramoff. Although he has since denounced Abramoff, in a 2002 meeting with one of Abramoff's tribal clients, Ney was effusive about Abramoff and his lobbying skills. A meeting participant described him as "animated about Mr. Abramoff's skill and repute as a leader in the lobbying circles." (Washington Post, 10/18/05)


PAY: Jack Abramoff's Capitol Athletic Foundation paid for the chartered jet that flew at least six people - including Abramoff and Ney - to St. Andrews, Scotland and London in August 2002. According to House rules, members of Congress are not allowed to receive trips that are paid for by lobbyists. In addition, a consultant to a Texas tribe represented by Abramoff testified that the lobbyist had told him he needed $100,000 to pay for Ney and his contingent's golf trip to Scotland. (Washington Post, 9/28/04; Los Angeles Times, 3/9/05) In addition, Ney's federal PAC received $5,000 in donations from the Tigua tribe of El Paso and his non-federal account received $25,000 in soft-money contributions. (Political Moneyline, http://www.tray.com)

PLAY: Ney attempted to help re-open the casino of the Tigua Indian tribe, a huge Abramoff client, by attempting to slip a provision into the unrelated Help America Vote Act. Abramoff stated that Ney was deeply involved, recalling a long conference call between Ney and Tigua tribal leaders, saying, "He (Ney) was on the phone for an hour and a half!" (Washington Post, 12/26/04; Washington Post, 11/18/04; New York Times, 5/1/05)


PAY: FEC records show that Abramoff and three men associated with Suncruz each donated $1,000 to Ney on March 15, 2001, a date that Ney used Abramoff's skybox. (Washington Post, 12/26/04; http://www.fec.gov)

PLAY: Ney criticized Gus Boulis, the owner of Suncruz a Florida based casino cruise ship fleet, in statements placed in the Congressional Record on March 30, 2000. Under pressure, Boulis sold the cruise line to a group that included Jack Abramoff, in a deal now under investigation for bank fraud. Ney praised the new owner Adam Kidan on October 26, 2000, on the floor of the House, after the sale went through. The next year, Boulis was murdered. (Washington Post, 12/26/04; Congressional Record, Thomas.loc.gov; Washington Post, 5/1/05)